Improving Office Productivity

In response to a reporter’s recent question about how to improve small business office productivity, I offered these five strategies to consider:

  1. One effective way to improve overall office productivity is to make it everyone’s ongoing responsibility to continually look for ways to do what they do faster, cheaper, better or smarter. Incorporate this practice into the company culture and reward appropriately for both effort and results.
  2. Process Mapping – identify major processes critical for the operation of the office/business and have each person involved in that process map it or list step by step how he or she does it. Share the maps in a group meeting, merge the various steps and create a composite best practice procedure for that process. Document it, create job aids for training new people on it and evaluate performance effectiveness and efficiency against the procedure.
  3. You can’t manage what you don’t measure’, asserted management guru Peter Drucker years ago. So, consider time a rare and value resource and measure how you use it. Have each key manager log his or her time us in 15-minute increments over different days in different weeks. List incoming calls or emails separately. Then analyze the results. ]
  4. Consider an ‘Urgent/Important‘ matrix where each task is evaluated according to how urgent and important it is. Low urgent/important tasks are potential for eliminating or delegating. Hi urgent/important tasks deserve more emphasis.
  5. Another method is to assign an arbitrary value for each person’s time – a high dollar/hour amount. Then, create three groups of tasks: 1.  Those for which the person is paid too much – a high probability for dumping or delegating. 2.  Those for which the person is paid fairly – keep doing them. 3.  And most importantly, those tasks for which the person is not paid enough. These represent best and highest use, so more time and effort should be spent on them, the result of delegating or dumping the lower value items.

So, improve small business office productivity by creating effective and efficient systems and processes to treat time like you would for an expensive and invaluable resource!